DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College men's basketball team fell to Wright State-Lake in the nightcap of the 43rd annual Purple and Gold Tournament moving on to play in the consolation game on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets (3-7 overall) were led in the contest by junior Randall Aikins Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) with a team-high 14 points. Freshman Avion Franklin (Toledo/Whitmer) chipped in 13 points, while junior Allante Wheeler (Canton, Mich.) added 11 points.
The Purple and Gold dominated the opening period early jumping out to a 6-0 lead led by junior Jovon Thomason (Port Huron, Mich.). Wright State-Lake would finally get on the board at the 15 minute mark using a small run of its own to cut the deficit to 8-6. The Lakers claimed the lead moments later as back-to-back scores put Wright State-Lake on top 12-8.
DC continued to battle as a dunk by Wheeler and a layup by Aikins gave Defiance the 15-14 advantage. The two teams continued to exchange points when the Lakers nailed a three-pointer with 3:25 remaining to steal the momentum and capture the 27-23 lead. However, the Yellow Jackets swarmed once more as Wheeler deemed clutch connecting from behind the arc to give Defiance the halftime advantage, 28-27.
Thomason led the Yellow Jacket efforts in the second half as he found freshman Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind./Lewis Cass) down low with 17:26 to play and completed the scoop and score to put DC on top 35-31. However, the Lakers cranked up the intensity scoring nine straight points to reclaim the lead at the 14:34 mark, 40-35.
The DC offense looked to get something going with under ten minutes to play as freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) found Wheeler in the paint to cut the deficit to 44-43. Wright State-Lake wasted no time responding as they again produced on the offensive side of the ball navigating the key with 7:27 remaining, 51-45. Defiance battled back again as junior Noah Goodrich (Oregon/Genoa) led a Yellow Jacket 6-0 run to pull DC within 56-55 with 3:15 left to play. The Lakers, however deemed to much as the turnover plague continued for the Purple and Gold in the final minutes of action, 67-61.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Saturday, December 30 as they take on Greenville University in the consolation game of the Purple and Gold Tournament.